Michigan governor, Rick Snyder has attended groundbreaking at the American Centre for Mobility at Willow Run in Ypsilanti Township.

"Michigan is reinventing the way the world moves," said Snyder. "We are second-to-none when it comes to automotive and technological innovation and we remain committed to making sure that stays true for generations to come.

"This facility will put Michigan at the forefront of the autonomous movement to ensure we lead the way as the auto industry transforms into the mobility industry."

Located on the 335-acre Willow Run site, where B-24 bombers were made during World War II, the Centre will be a purpose-built facility designed for research, education, testing, standards-convening, product development, validation and self-certification for connected and automated technologies as well as future mobility.

"We envision the American Centre for Mobility as a global hub for connected and automated vehicle technologies supported by Michigan's high concentration of automotive expertise," added Centre president and CEO, John Maddox.

"We are excited to be partnering with the state of Michigan to establish a real-world testing and innovation centre that will be instrumental in putting self-driving cars on America's roads."

US Senators, Debbie Stabenow and Gary Peters, as well as US Representative, Debbie Dingell, who have advocated for the project in Washington, joined Snyder at the groundbreaking and expressed their strong support.

The Centre is designed to enable technology and to accelerate the development of voluntary standards to improve transportation systems and ensure US competitiveness worldwide.

It will be available for use by private industry, government, standards bodies and academia, while serving as a technology hub, allowing companies to lease office space, garages and other amenities.

There also is sufficient room for additional economic investment by companies looking to expand existing or build new facilities close to the testing ground.

In addition to manufacturing B-24 bombers during World War II, Willow Run has also served as the location of a powertrain plant for General Motors. In 2011, RACER Trust took title of the property and demolished most of the factory. 

It sold the remaining portion of the historic bomber plant to the Yankee Air Museum, which is converting it to the National Museum of Aviation and Technology at Historic Willow Run.